Port of Oakland Reopens as Trucker Blockade Ends

According to WSJ, this week the port of Oakland reopened with truckers limited to ‘free-speech zones’. Cargo containers stacked there started moving again. To protest a new California “gig economy” law, truckers started a strike last week to block the Port of Oakland’s gate which led to a big backlog of containers.

According to officials at the private operators of Oakland’s shipping terminals, boxes in the port had piled up due to the one-week blocking from truckers and they are doing all that they can to clear these containers.

Bill Aboudi, president of trucking company Oakland Port Services Corp., said when he tried to make an appointment to pick up containers early Monday, he found the earliest slot available was Tuesday night. That’s crazy. Everybody was trying to get a week’s worth of work done within one day. That’s unfeasible. Nothing will be normal for another few weeks.

After protesters didn’t show up on Saturday during the port’s limited weekend hours, activities started to recover. On Monday as business boosted again, the trucks blocking the gate of the Port of Oakland were removed.

The port warned, in an open letter to the protesters, their behavior—blocking the gate breached the new state law which states that protests shall be conducted within designated zones and they could be “cited and penalized” by police.

Able Zerfiel, one of the protesters, said they moved to the limited zone to show their annoyance without blocking the gate after the police threatened to act.

The new law the truckers protest is known as AB5, which makes those owner-operators in the trucking industry in California hard and extremely expensive to be independent. That’s why some of an estimated 70,000 independent truckers objected it.

According to Ed DeNike, president of SSA Containers which normally handles about 8,000 to 9,000 containers weekly, the key issue was that all the containers off ships were crammed in the yard as no one came to pick them up. But as the gate is open and they can do the job now, we have more capacity in the yard now.

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